The Hipster Renewalism of Hall & Oates
Tune in here Friday, Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET as Yahoo Live livestreams Daryl's House Presents: 'Hall-oween and Oates with Daryl Hall and John Oates (Need an event reminder? Click through to the Yahoo Live page to sign up.).
Daryl Hall and John Oates
This article originally ran August 2013 and has since been updated.
Hall & Oates has never won a Grammy but the No. 1 selling duo of all time has something else: hipster respect.
Putting aside those shoulder pads for a moment, Daryl Hall and John Oates looked like hand-picked opposites: The lanky blond Hall called himself the "more flamboyant" one, while the shorter dark-haired Oates — with his distinctive 'stache — embraced his role as "worker bee."
But their union came from no design, except by the music gods: The Temple University students met in an elevator, both trying to duck a gunfight that had broken out at the Adelphi Ballroom in 1967. Forty-six years later, they performed as a duo--again--at Outside Lands in San Francisco in August 2013, and reunited for a 2014 Halloween concert, broadcast live on Yahoo Oct. 31 at 9 p.m. EST and replayed throughout the following 24 hours.)
Not that they ever abandoned their partnership, but the two have been working on solo projects. Still, their legions of fans of their Philly soul sound and/or their synthesized '80s pop have been swelling anew — some who are sheepishly acknowledging their GenX affection, others who weren't born when "Sara Smile" peaked at No. 4 on Billboard in 1976. Even critics who swatted Hall & Oates with the "yacht rock" label have been begrudgingly moved by persistent YouTube tributes, movie and TV callouts, social media adulation, even a "Callin' Oates" hotline. Oh yes, and just plain ol' addictive beats.
While the pair have said that there's no creative future for them, they've been keen to be a part of this revival. Let's take a look at what's brought them this musical reincarnation.
House rules. Reality TV and music artists were pretty commonplace by the time Darryl Hall laid down $40K to launch his free Web series, "Live From Daryl’s House," in 2007. But what made the series different wasn't just its relaxed tone as he and friends got together and did everything from singing to making banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches). The show re-created a public identity for the lead singer. "I'm a firm believer in the intergenerational interplay," Hall once told Billboard. "In order for an artist to really achieve significance you have to go out of your own generation, and luckily, I think I've pulled that off."
Hall also went theway of Vanilla Ice — to house renovations. He's not redoing his "Live From" home but aiming his hammer at a Connecticut one-bedroom in "Daryl's Restoration Over-Hall," to air on DIY Network in December 2014. Meanwhile, a clip from his Web series:
Rocking the yacht. Platinum records means somebody was buying their albums — an awful lot of somebodies — but even ironic references to Hall & Oates weren't in vogue. It was as if a giant pop culture sinkhole had swallowed them up, until the 2005-2010 mockumentary series, "Yacht Rock," which featured a psychopathic Oates controlling a blubbery Hall. And the duo was down with that.